As designers, sometimes we're too busy perfecting our work to share it with others who can help make it better. Over the past two years Chris Kalani and digital agency Bakken & Bæck have been building Wake, a tool that makes sharing work in progress and getting feedback dead simple.
"Even though we're more connected than ever before, the majority of our design process remains isolated from the rest of our team," Kalani says. "We believe access to the creative consciousness of your team will lead to more innovative design solutions. We want to change the way people make decisions by providing a place where raw ideas have a chance to evolve."
Sharing your work is important. The ideal design process involves consistent and frequent feedback. It forces you to articulate your thoughts and helps you make better design decisions.
"We want to get designers' ideas out into the open, not only for the sake of the project, but also to make sure they learn more," says Kalani. "We do our best work when someone else has a chance to pick it apart and offer a fresh perspective."
Wake can help give designers a louder voice than they already have. To pitch an idea, you don't necessarily have to take time out of someone's day for a meeting. Share your idea on Wake and it might gain momentum within the organisation if other people pick up on it.
Getting started with Wake is easy – we've made sure Wake fits right into the designer's workflow. "Removing the friction that goes into sharing is key," Kalani says. "We don't want people thinking too much about how to organise things, or who they're sharing with."
First, get a team administrator to invite you to your design team on Wake. The invite will be sent out via email. Click the link in that email, or simply sign up via teamname.wake.io/join.
Mac app, shortcuts and notifications
If you're new to Wake, it's best to start by downloading the Mac app via the Wake website. Then set a shortcut of your choosing via the Preferences panel, for uploading a screenshot or the content of your clipboard. Uploading doesn't get easier than that.
There's a Sketch plugin available to install from the Preferences panel as well. Install that and you can upload your artboards directly from Sketch with cmd+shift+W.
Your uploads will end up in a gridded feed, along with the uploads from the rest of your team. Over time, the Wake feed will turn into a great overview of rough sketches and design iterations. Everyone on the team can comment on each other's work, and the app supports desktop notifications so you'll know when another team member has left a comment on your upload.
This makes giving and receiving valuable feedback a whole lot easier. You can customise the number and type of desktop notifications you receive by diving into the Mac app's Preferences panel. For example, I only get notified of mentions and comments on my own posts.
Everything is searchable
After uploading your work, browse to teamname.wake.io. You'll see your upload has appeared there. Click it and type a fitting description in the sidebar to the right. Make sure to tag the work properly. We tag uploads with #projectname.
Every tag becomes a searchable collection of work. This way, other team members can closely follow the progress of a project by simply typing #tagname in the search bar. New employees can dive in and see how a project evolved, from the start right up to where it is today.
Wake on the go
Download the iPhone app to upload photos directly from your phone. This is very convenient when you've sketched something out on a piece of paper or a whiteboard. You're able to scroll through the Wake feed from your phone and you don't have to miss a discussion while you're on the go. Tap new work and comment away!
To increase Wake's visibility within your company, Wake can also be integrated into Slack. It will post all new activity – uploads and comments – to a channel of your choosing, like #design or #critique. This integration nudges people to provide feedback on other people's early work more often; from their desks, as well as from their phones.
Wake doesn't just work for large design teams. "We have a lot of independent designers who use Wake to document their own process," reveals Kalani. "In doing so the rest of their collaborators still find a lot of value in seeing the progression and thought process."
If your team is not on Wake yet, sign them up via wake.io/signup. Breaking the ice and sharing your own work will usually get others to follow suit. If Wake becomes the place where everyone is able to see new, fresh work, your team will definitely continue coming back.
Try it out with a few projects for a while. Upload your work in progress, and new ideas regularly and we guarantee you'll love it.
Words: Daniël van der Winden
Daniël van der Winden is a digital designer at Bakken & Bæck. This article was originally published in issue 274 of net magazine.
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